Tuberculosis (TB) is an airborne infectious disease caused by bacteria that primarily affects the lungs. TB is curable and preventable, yet it is the number one infectious killer in the world, claiming 1.5 million lives in 2018 alone.[1] TB can be found across every continent, but mostly affects people living in poverty.
Even within Canada, TB remains a concern, affecting marginalized populations like Indigenous and newcomer communities. Despite eradication being within our reach, the continued existence of TB demonstrates the health inequities that persist in our world.

Addressing the global TB epidemic is not an easy task. Inadequate research and development (R&D) for TB coupled with out-dated treatment and diagnosis causes the rise of drug-resistant TB and millions of people ill with TB going untreated. Drug resistance happens when the bacteria that causes TB no longer responds to the drugs that commonly treat it. This results in longer and more dangerous treatments, particularly for people living with HIV who are much more susceptible to falling ill with and dying from TB.

The world is only spending half of what is needed to end the TB epidemic.[2] If we do not accelerate our current progress, we won’t end TB for another 150 years. We are far from meeting our global 2030 target to end TB. Without significant steps being taken, we will see the loss of 28 million lives and a global cost to economy of one trillion dollars (USD).[3]

Key facts on tuberculosis

  • TB is one of the top 10 causes of death in the world.[4]
  • About one-quarter of the world’s population is infected with TB bacteria.[5]
  • TB is the leading killer of people who have HIV.[6]
  • Over the past 200 years, TB has claimed the lives of more than one billion people - more deaths than from malaria, influenza, smallpox, HIV/AIDS, cholera and plague combined.[7]
  • The rates of TB for Inuit peoples of Canada are 300 times higher than Canadian-born non-Indigenous people.[8]

read more facts here

  • TB is the number one infectious killer.[1]
  • Every 18 seconds someone dies of TB.[2]
  • TB accounts for 6-15% of all maternal deaths.[3]
  • TB kills 200,000 children each year.[4]
  • The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria is the world’s largest funder of TB care and control.
  • TB kills over 4000 people every day. [5]
  • TB is more deadly than HIV and malaria combined.
  • TB is a truly global disease. In Canada, TB rates are relatively low yet over 1,700 people fell ill with TB in 2016. [6]
  • TB is a family and community disease: a heavy burden falls on caregivers - often women, and economically impacts a family and community.
  • It is estimated that TB will cost the global economy a trillion dollars by 2030. [7]
  • The ways in which we currently and most commonly diagnose and treat TB are too old, toxic and often ineffective, which has led to drug resistance and survivors with life-long disabilities due to drug side effects.
  • Globally we face a gap of $1.3 billion/year in R&D for TB.
  • No matter where you live, you have a right to health. People suffering from TB are too often neglected and marginalized – they face barriers in access to health care, nutrition, clean air, and good housing. Fighting TB is a fight for human rights

read about the progress on tuberculosis and the key milestones that have been achieved to date

  • 2018: The United Nations hosted a High-Level Meeting on TB at the 2018 UN General Assembly. Canada was a signatory to the declaration of this meeting where global commitments to urgently advance global and national actions in the fight against TB
  • 2016: Canada hosted The Fifth Replenishment Conference for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in Montreal. Canada pledged CAD$785 million for 2016-2019, contributing to the USD$12.9 billion pledged globally.
  • 2016: Canada committed CAD$85 million to TB REACH for 2016-2021. Canada is the primary donor to TB REACH, a multilateral funding mechanism that provides relatively small grants to test innovative techniques for improving treatment and diagnosis of TB.
  • 2013: Canada pledged $650 million over 3 years to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, a 20% increase over the previous contribution.